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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

Los Angeles Immigrants Rights, Social Justice and Labor Leaders Call on Congress to Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Over 50 community leaders rallied today in Los Angeles against the TPP, a trade agreement that would threaten middle class workers and the environment

April 29, 2015

Los Angeles, CA - Today, over 50 community leaders protested against the Trans Pacific Partnership, publicly urging Congress to oppose the massive trade deal, which has been negotiated in secret for five years. Event attendees included Leaders from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Presente.org, Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM), Communications Workers of America (CWA), East Yard Community for a Better Environment, as well as other labor groups and local organizations.

Over the past 20 years, three major trade deals have caused a NET loss of more than 4 million jobs based in the United States: China, Korea and the North American Free Trade Agreement. The deals negotiators claimed that jobs would be created, but their promise turned out to be false ones, as employment opportunities were shipped promptly overseas.

But the TPP will be worse than past trade agreements, shipping more manufacturing and service sector jobs — like those in call centers and Internet technology — overseas. This deal will also further devastate our communities, as corporate polluters would gain broad new rights, allowing multinational companies to attack environmental laws and regulations. The deal itself isn’t just about trade; it’s about rewarding multinational corporations profits for investing in Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and other TPP countries.

As Congress considers the TPP, there has been strong opposition across the progressive movement to oppose this corporate giveaway. We are united in calling upon Congress to oppose a “fast track” for the TPP and to negotiate a 21st century trade deal that benefits all of us, not just big corporations.

Below are statements from the organizers of today’s action along with a fact sheet citing some of the key concerns.

- Images and Footage of the press conference available upon request

Arturo Carmona, Executive Director, Presente.org:
“The TPP would be a disaster for Latinos across America. Free trade agreements have destroyed the economies of many Latin American countries, driving our communities north in search of work into America’s xenophobic and anti-immigrant workforce. And in the US, the TPP would be terrible for nearly every issue held near and dear by Latino communities. The TPP would literally allow mega-corporations to sue governments for taking action on a range of issues like climate change and against the fossil fuel industry. It is for these reasons and many more that President Obama should oppose the TPP. ”

Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA):
“Trade agreements that focus on profits for an elite few and ignore or downplay the negative impact on millions, especially workers and families, should die on arrival. The TPP may sound like a lucrative deal for bean counters in the U.S. but it certainly sounds and looks like another giant wrecking ball threatening to destabilize people’s lives, cultures, and economic systems in countries already grappling with unstable governments and economies. CHIRLA opposes another NAFTA and calls on President Obama and Congress to forego their support of this ill-advised proposal.”

Rafael Navar, Political Director, Communications Workers of America (CWA):
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal that’s been negotiated in secret for five years. Some 500 corporate executives and lobbyists already have read the text and been able to help shape this deal, but the rest of us have been shut out.

Our broad coalition of unions, immigrant rights, faith, consumer, environmental and consumer groups is calling on the Obama administration to release the texts now so that the American people can weigh in on this trade deal before Congress votes on any "fast track" authority. We know that 20 years of bad trade deals have hit American workers and communities hard and have pushed communities in Mexico and Central America into great poverty. The American people deserve to see the agreement before it gets Fast Tracked and Congress is left only with a ‘Yes or No’ vote and no amendments.”

Anabella Bastida, Executive Director, Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM)
“The TPP is a real nightmare for working class families, particularly Mexican families in the US. For over the last two decades, Mexico has experienced unprecedented migration where millions of families have been forced to leave their homes in search of a job. This is as a direct result of policies like NAFTA and trade agreements that have displaced workers on both sides of the border. This is why we strongly oppose the TPP and we urge Congress to stand strongly against it”